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Intercultural education in small liberal art colleges in the United States: An ethnographic research project

1 June 1996


This project takes a critical look at the nature and organization of what is known as Intercultural Communication and Intercultural Education. Basically the conclusion criticizes the formal approach as being idealistic in nature rather that an approach through which individuals come together in spite of cultural differences. I suggest a mere "person-oriented" approach. My conclusions are based upon qualitative research with five international student advisors from liberal arts colleges in Oregon.

It is challenging to criticize already existing, "intercultural theories." To my mind, educators should be reminded that we cannot teach everything to students, but only help students to have opportunities, so that students can learn their intercultural experiences in their terms. If a student can look at a person as a person instead of a person from another culture, that is a first step to the real intercultural communication. If they gradually understand the differences and could respect those differences, that is the true intercultural communication. We do the same for any friends we make in our lives.


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